The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released a draft study February 2 examining current trends and the impact they will have on the nation’s transportation infrastructure over the next three decades. The longterm analysis in Beyond Traffic: Trends and Choices 2045 predicts cars will continue to be the primary transport choice, though growth in vehicle miles traveled will increase at a slightly slower pace. Freight volume will grow by 45 percent and U.S. population will increase by approximately 70 million, leading to greater amounts of congestion in all modes of transportation. Additionally, the DOT projects most U.S. residents will continue residing in suburban areas, while urban areas will grow in size and become less condensed, increasing the need for intercity rail and transit options.

Recommendations to combat economic and transportation gridlock include:

  • Ensure adequate transportation funding;
  • Increase coordination between all levels of government, including defining clear roles for federal investment as well as private entities;
  • Increase infrastructure capacity and safety;
  • Promote multi-modal transportation options; and
  • Improve freight planning, including pioneering new strategies and instituting targeted policies and investments to relieve congestion.

To view or comment on Beyond Traffic: Trends and Choices 2045, visit: http://www.dot.gov/beyondtraffic